I love Japanese food and Kyushu has its fair share of delectable offerings. Don't worry if you don't have many days to visit all the prefectures in Kyushu to sample their unique dishes - these days, food has transcended all boundaries and especially in the bigger cities, you'd probably be able to find an eatery serving a particular specialty dish from a particular region.
My 6-day travels took me to Fukuoka and Oita Prefecture (Taketa City, Yufuin and Beppu) and I managed to sample a variety of delicious food!
Kyushu is best known to be the home of tonkotsu ramen and what better way to start the trip than with a bowl of piping hot ramen at the Tenjin area in Fukuoka!
After navigating through the confusing city streets, I managed to locate the original branch of Ippudo! This is where its chain of restaurants first started!
It was well worth the effort to get there as the fragrant and collagen rich soup broth was full of flavour and I feel that the quality of the food here is very much better than at its branches in my country!
Fukuoka is also known for its mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and I managed to find a restaurant specializing in this. I ordered a serving of mentaiju (spicy cod roe over rice, served in a box) and if you haven't tried fish roe before, it definitely tastes much better than it looks!
Izakayas are good places to go to try a variety of food. I found an eatery serving various interesting dishes which included some traditional Kyushu fare.
This dish is called Hakata Tonbeiyaki, a Japanese omelette wrapped around slices of kurobuta and topped with a secret sauce and mayonnaise. It's like a variation of okonomiyaki and it tastes so good!
Another dish on the menu caught my attention and it was Dandan noodles. Typically Dandan noodles are served in a spicy soup but this version was a fried version that came in a sizzling pan! Mmm...one word to describe it - OISHII!
We visited Taketa City and dined at a restaurant housed in what previously was a samurai's residence.
Had a nice set lunch...
...and the meal ended with some mochi and matcha.
There is a special dish in Oita Prefecture which is called Dango-Jiru and so when I spotted this dish being served at an eatery in the vicinity of the Beppu "Hells", I just had to try it!
Hmm... the noodles were like a broader version of fettuccini and a little chewy, but it was served with a hearty miso soup in which I could feel all the love gone into preparing it!
As I have a weakness for character themed food, I unashamedly just had to go to Snoopy Chaya (teahouse) when I arrived at Yufuin!
Here's what we ordered:
Hamburg steak served in a tomato-based stew, mashed potatoes with cheese, served with rice, salad and soup.
Omurice (omelette wrapped over rice) with Hamburg steak in a demiglace sauce, served with salad, soup and warabimochi.
Matcha Latte and Caffe Latte, each with a Snoopy marshmallow. Sooo cute!!!
The Kuju area in Oita Prefecture has lovely weather which is conducive for growing grapes. We visited Kuju Winery, which has a wide selection of lovely wines to choose from. You can ask for wine samples to try before buying. For non-alcoholics, a sweet grape juice is available and it really is a lovely drink!
Since we are on the topic of beverages, Kabosu (lime) juice is one of the specialties of Oita Prefecture and you can find many different brands of beverages with this drink. Do give it a try! I'm not sure which brand is the best but this was one that I had bought.
One of the drinks that I totally fell in love with was this bottle of Mango and Honey drink, which I found at Yufuin. Wow...the rich flavour of the mango puree blended well with the honey and it felt as if I was actually eating the fruit but in liquid form!
Moving on to desserts, Guernsey Farm sells dairy products, made from the rich "golden milk" produced by its breed of Guernsey cattle. I've always thought the best milk products in Japan come from Hokkaido, but you can actually find similar quality dairy products in Kyushu too!
One of their popular desserts is this Yoghurt Soft Serve Ice Cream, which was very smooth and creamy!
Another delicious treat is the Guernsey Milk Pudding, which has the wonderful rich flavour of fresh milk.
I couldn't help trying a few more puddings during my trip and this was an interesting pudding from "Hell" that had caught my eye... Soy Sauce Pudding.
What?? A pudding made with soy sauce? Yes, it sounded so strange that I had to try one! Surprisingly the combination of the soy sauce and the custard went really well together! Think along the lines of salted caramel desserts and you'll get what I mean.
What I had tried is not an exhaustive list of foods available at the places that I had visited, but I hope it did give you a flavour of the different gastronomic delights that can be found there! ^_^
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